Lock Haven, PA.  At a ceremony in Harrisburg, PA, on November 17, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed Bill #1989 making the Piper J-3 Cub the State’s official airplane, the culmination of a long and tedious process.  This puts the J-3 Cub in a place of honor, along with the State flower, tree and bird, among others.

Mrs. Elizabeth Piper, wife of William T. Piper, Jr., (deceased) accepted the proclamation on behalf of Piper Aviation Museum.  She said, “This is a most beautiful day for the Piper Aviation Museum, its founding family, and general aviation, as well as all the citizens of Clinton County.  It also is a great day for the City of Lock Haven, the William T. Piper Memorial Airport, and the fine employees that were part of Piper Aircraft and making of the J-3 Cub.” 

The idea was born back in 1998 at the 60th anniversary of the introduction of the
J-3 Cub by Piper.  John Bryerton, President of the Piper Aviation Museum, spearheaded this effort, taking the idea to Mike Hanna, Clinton County State Representative.  Mike and John developed a plan, including getting support letters from local officials, Sentimental Journey and several people associated with the Piper Aviation Museum.  Mike Hanna prepared and introduced House Bill 1989, collected co-sponsors and answered legislators’ questions.  The main question was why the Piper Cub deserved this special recognition.  Mike explained that not only was the J-3 designed in Pennsylvania but almost 20,000 cubs were built, most of which were built in Pennsylvania.  No other manufacturer could even come close to this achievement. Bryerton further stated, “Mike and I certainly thought this was more than enough reason and with the Piper Employee event planned for September, we needed to make that happen”. After much hard work and persistence, Mike was able to get the PA House and Senate to pass the bill on June 17, 2014, with approval by the Governor on June 26th. Rep. Hanna presented a signed copy of the proclamation to the Museum at the Piper Employee Homecoming event held at the Museum on September 14, 2014.

The Piper J-3 Cub is a small, simple, light aircraft that was built between 1937 and 1947 by Piper Aircraft.  With fore and aft seating, it was intended for flight training but became one of the most popular and best-known light aircraft of all time.  The Cub’s simplicity, affordability and popularity invokes comparisons to the Ford Model T automobile.  The Cub’s standard chrome yellow paint has come to be known as “Cub Yellow” or “Lock Haven Yellow.”  The distinctive yellow paint and the Bear Cub emblem allows it to be easily recognized by even the novice. 

When the J-3 is flown solo, the lone pilot normally occupies the rear seat for proper balance.  This balances the fuel tank located at the firewall. The aircraft has been popular among flying schools, especially from the pre-World War II existence of the Civilian Pilot Training Program using them in the U.S., and it remains so with private individuals today.

A great showing of Piper J-3 Cubs is evident each June at the Sentimental Journey Fly-In at the William T. Piper Memorial Airport in Lock Haven, PA.  This event will be held on June 16-20 in 2015.

For further information call Stacy Young, Manager at Piper Aviation Museum at 570-748-8283 or Phil Hoy, Board Member at 860-342-3474.